“He left no trace”: the relic of Sauvagnas once again degraded with a piece of the skull stolen

“He left no trace”: the relic of Sauvagnas once again degraded with a piece of the skull stolen
“He left no trace”: the relic of Sauvagnas once again degraded with a piece of the skull stolen

the essential
On April 23, Lucas Cappuccini, municipal councilor in Sauvagnas, discovered in the church that the relic of Saint-Salvy was damaged again. The municipality filed a complaint.

The small flowery town of Sauvagnas is peaceful, even if sometimes, a few incivilities can disturb the tranquility of its inhabitants. Perched on the heights of the village, the church is a symbol and for the second time, damage has taken place in the place of worship.

Regularly, Lucas Cappuccini tours the heritage of the village to more than 500 souls. On April 23, he strolled through the church and discovered the relic of Saint-Salvy, once again defaced. “In August 2021, part of the skull was stolen, and another part flew away,” rewinds the municipal councilor. Today, only the top of the relic’s skull remains, still installed in its reliquary.

A relic from Albi

In charge of the village’s heritage, he is also a student of art history and remains taken aback: “No other object has been touched or moved. Everything is perfectly in its place. I don’t understand the purpose of the maneuver .” The relic has been present in the village for centuries. It is the skull of Saint-Salvy, bishop of Albi and died in the 6th century.

The first sources evoking its presence date back to the 17th century in the memoirs of Nicolas de Villars, found in the notes of the Canon of Durengues written at the beginning of the 20th century: “In a cabinet, called du Prébat (chest which served as a tabernacle in the church of Sauvagnas), there is a brass reliquary with a miter above. Inside is the entire head of Saint-Salvy. The people have a lot of devotion for healing headaches and for. livestock health.”

A meticulous flight

After the events, the town decided to hire a local metallurgist, Louis Lemaire, to make a wrought iron protective grille. “We are scandalized and questioning about this affair. We wonder how the thief did it. We have already closed the church after the first theft in 2021, preventing many hikers from visiting the building,” protests Nadine Labournerie, mayor of Sauvagnas. The councilor also deplores increasingly regular damage: “A wash house has been vandalized, the municipal vault damaged, incidents which are increasing.”

If no link can be made between the cases, it is a global context which weighs on the village. Historically, the town was a former Templar commandery. The current church is also built on this site. Theses can be varied on the reasons for this act.

A possible resale on the black market? “Maybe. It’s not a known relic. The person who did it was meticulous. They split the skull very precisely, knew where the skull was and didn’t leave any traces,” he said. art history student.

The latter wishes to send a message to the thief, hoping for a return of the sacred object: “If the author of the facts becomes aware of this article and still keeps the fragments of the relic, we strongly invite him to return them in a one way or another, because a restoration would still be possible.”

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